Cancellation of rides after drivers find out the destination, non-cash mode of payment, surge pricing and rude behaviour of drivers are the major pain points for commuters with regard to app-based taxi services, revealed a survey conducted by LocalCircles. According to the survey, convenience is the top reason behind people opting for these taxi services in the previous 12 months.
Following consumer complaints about ride cancellations by drivers and surge pricing on LocalCircles in 2019, which were escalated to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), the government issued the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines in November 2020. It capped surge pricing at 1.5 times the base fare and introduced a cancellation penalty for drivers at 10% of the fare capped at Rs 100. However, most states are yet to put the rules into practice.
Since the guidelines were implemented 15 months ago, LocalCircles has received over 65,000 responses from app-based taxi customers in 324 districts across India, of which 71% customers said drivers’ ride-cancellation issues continued to persist, while 45% said they were charged more than 1.5 times in surge pricing. While many of them have expressed satisfaction over the drivers’ Covid-proper behaviour — wearing masks and maintaining social distancing protocols — several commuters want drivers of app-based taxis to maintain cleanliness and appropriate sanitation standards as well.
Commuters have also expressed concern over the extortionist practices of some drivers to undertake private trips. Long waiting periods, safety, and driver misbehaviour are among the other complaints raised by customers. Some have also shared their experiences of violent crimes perpetrated by drivers.
The Supreme Court had ruled in 2017 that app-based transportation service providers must be regulated to guarantee the safety of female passengers. Despite the fact that both Ola and Uber have launched a 24-hour safety helpline, users still unsafe about cab aggregator apps.
According to LocalCircles, the company is working with the Government of India’s Bureau of Indian Standards to develop and set standards for app-based taxi services under sharing economy services in India. These standards will be developed as part of an internationally synchronised initiative that is in the process of developing ISO standards for sharing economy services.